Looking Back at the Books I Read in February 2023

Another month has passed and similar to last month, I’m going to be sharing everything that I read during the course of the month. This is broken down into sections: new books I’ve read, things I didn’t finish, and things I re-read. I only count the new books towards my yearly reading goal, as that’s how Goodreads handles the counts as it doesn’t repeat the read time. But it’s not entirely accurate, so I figured I would start sharing those as well in these round-ups.

So, what did I read this month?

These are all the new books I read, not any that I decided to re-read along the way. If I did a review, I’ll share the link to those. Otherwise, I will do a quick review of the book or series (with the series getting the mini-review at the end of all the books in the list). Mostly, those will just be a quick blurb about what the book/series was about.

  1. Broken Vow (Brutal Birthright, Book 5) by Sophie Lark – 3 stars
    • This book follows Riona Griffin (middle child of Chicago’s Irish mafia) and Rayland (Dante Gallo’s friend and military partner). From the last book, I knew these two were going to get together. They are the definition of opposite attracts. She’s an uptight lawyer that never leaves the city, and he’s a layback cowboy. When someone tries to kill Riona, Rayland ends up becoming her bodyguard. At first, I was a little disappointed that Rayland took Riona away from where everything was happening. But that allowed for their relationship to take place, and Riona eventually realizes why there’s a hit on her. It wasn’t my favorite book in this series, but it’s still higher on my list than the first one. It’s also the first one that doesn’t have pictures throughout.
  2. Heavy Crown (Brutal Birthright, Book 6) by Sophie Lark – 2.75 stars
    • The final book in the Brutal Birthright series follows Sebastian Gallo (youngest brother of the Italian mafia and future don) and Yelena Yenin (only daughter of the Russian mafia’s newest don). Yelena is forced to get close to Sebastian by her father, but the two end up falling in love. However, the pacing is slow to get toward the wedding of these two then shit hits the fan. Then with not even half of the book left the entire revenge plot, reconciliation between Sebastian and Yelena, set up for a spin-off series, and the passing of the crown happens. There’s just a lot that happens in a short period of time, while the first half was stretched out. Plus, the two main characters are so hopeful that everything is going to work out, they miss very clear signs that it’s all going to go downhill quickly. While I don’t think this was the worst book in the series, it wasn’t the best ending. Mainly as it felt like tearing about the core family we were introduced to at the beginning of the series.
      Dante leaves Chicago for good so he can see his children grow up after missing nine years due to her parents. Nero is shot six times and spends the end of the book in the hospital, though he does survive. Aida is kept out of the action because the Griffins and Gallos have been working towards becoming legitimate together. And Enzo, their father, is killed during the massacre wedding. So, Sebastian has to basically tackle everything on his own. Though he does partner with Miko. Which I know is part of the setup for the spin-off series (which I’m not reading), as I know the first book is about Leo (Yelena and Sebastian’s son) and Anna (Nessa and Miko’s daughter). Plus, Miko is the only individual who isn’t shying away from the darker side of the mafia life like the rest of them have been. Due to this, Sebastian ends up becoming the Don of the Italian mafia, since none of the other siblings will take the mantle. Plus, he kind of earned it through blood and war.
  3. Zodiac Aligned (Zodiac Wolves, Book 4) by Elizabeth Briggs – 3.5 stars
    • The final book in Ayla and Kaden’s story. The two discover that the Sun Witches have been controlling Kaden and his actions in the last book were in part because of them. And the control they had over her half-brother, Jordan, is fully revealed. All the plot threads that were open are closed in this book while introducing some future books also in this universe including some future mate pairings. Those threads were: removing the false mating bonds, uniting all of the Zodiac wolves, and freeing the wolves from the control of the Sun Witches. It was a good conclusion to this chapter of the story, and I look forward to seeing how the other mates (many of who I suspected earlier in the series) will end up getting together in their own books. So far we know Jordan, Wesley, Ethan, and Madison are going to get books. I know who Jordan and Wesley are going to end up with, but right now Ethan and Madison I’m not sure who their mates are.
  4. Queens of Hell House (Kildale Academy Series, Book 2) by Dakota Wilde – 3.75 stars
    • This is the second book in the Kildale Academy series. Similar to the first, it has multiple POVs and why choose romances. We explore more about Salem and her powers while getting closer to some of the other guys. Skye, who previously was only with Lukas (Lust), is now with Graham (Gluttony) and Sloan (Sloth) as well. The group is recovering after the cliffhanger of the first book where Sloan was poisoned, Lukas was shot in the arm, Salem has been possessed by the head demon (not fully revealed at the beginning), Emmett (Envy) trying to regain the trust of Hell House, and Pierce (Pride) is trapped in purgatory while everyone believes he’s dead. Similar to the first book, this one ends on a cliffhanger and I’m still not sure who to trust. I think there’s more going on with Skye, but we don’t know what other than hints when the Sin Demons took over the guys. Garrison (Greed) is still the only guy not involved sexually with either girl, though I have a feeling he’ll end up with one of them at some point during the series. I do really enjoy this series, even if there are errors with the editing.
  5. Twisted (Never After, Book 4) by Emily McIntire 3.5 stars
    • See the link above for my overall thoughts on this series.
  6. Radiant Sin (Dark Olympus, Book 4) by Katee Roberts – 3.5 stars
    • This book takes elements of both Cassandra’s and Apollo’s mythology. While they were never a couple in Greek Mythology, they were linked together as Cassandra was favored by the god but in the original tale, she rejected him as a lover, so he cursed her so no one would ever believe her visions of the future. While this book makes the two lovers, the latter is still true. No one but Apollo believes her when she tries to warn them about Minos’s plot. This book sets up the plot of the rest of the series, so there’s a more heavy focus on the plot elements than the romance compared to the other books in Dark Olympus. Not to say there aren’t steamy moments between the two, or both of them admitting the fact they’ve been in love with each other for years but never admitted it because he’s her boss.
  7. When She’s Bold (A Risdaverse Tale) by Ruby Dixon – 3.5 stars
  8. When She’s Ready (A Risdaverse Tale) by Ruby Dixon – 3.25 stars
  9. Pretty Human (A Risdaverse Tale) by Ruby Dixon – 3 stars
  10. When She’s Lonely (A Risdaverse Tale) by Ruby Dixon – 3.25 stars
  11. When She’s Married (A Risdaverse Tale) by Ruby Dixon – 3.25 stars
    • These are a collection of novellas that tell the story of various humans living on Risda III and how they end up falling in love with various aliens. Most of them stem from loneliness or a need for protection. Some stories I enjoyed more than others, which were usually the longer ones as you got more of a feel for the characters.
  12. Captured Fate (Shadowblood Souls, Book 3) by Eva Chase – 3.25 stars
    • This book is more centered on character development and plot, as romance is not really possible given the group’s circumstances. They have been captured again and are trying to figure out how to get out of the situation with as many of the Shadowbloods as possible. Of course, they face a lot of difficulties doing so and the book leaves on a major cliffhanger that I’m curious to see how it will play out in the next book of the series.
  13. Corrupt Vow (Filthy Wicked Psychos, Book 3) by Eva Ashwood – 3.5 stars
    • This book follows Willow as she tries to save the brothers (Malice, Ransom, and Victor) from her grandmother, even going as far as agreeing to be married to an abusive man. Of course, the brothers won’t allow that to happen and do everything they can to stop it from happening. Then the four go on the run together with a plan to figure out later how they’ll handle Olivia (Willow’s grandmother and X). However, that doesn’t go smoothly as Olivia will do whatever she wants to get what she sees as property (Willow) back and reverses Malice’s parole so there’s a warrant out for him. The book ends with a cliffhanger, so we have to wait for the next/last book to see how it will play out.
  14. On Twisting Tides (From Tormented Tides, Book 2) by Val E. Lane4.25 stars
    • See my review for thoughts on this book.
  15. R’jall’s Resonance (Ice Planet Clones, Book 1) by Ruby Dixon – 3.5 stars
    • The newest series from Ruby Dixon, which takes place on Not-Hoth (the world of Ice Plant Barbarians and Icehome). This book introduces us to the ancestors, which are likely going to all be paired off with the female clones that were dropped off on the planet. There are also gladiators (Taters) and one human male, so I’m curious to meet all the new characters and see who pairs up with who. However, we didn’t get a feel for those as R’jall was kidnapped by the natives (what he calls ancestors) and spent the majority of the time trying to get back to the beach with Rosalind. So, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next. Will this group continue to live at Icehome or will they move away to create a third tribe/village with the ancestors? As I know we’re going to see more of them in the future and possibly a lot of tension between the tribes we know and the new one.
  16. Den of Blades and Briars (The Broken Kingdoms, Book 7) by LJ Andrews4 stars
    • See my review for thoughts on this book.

My Rating System

Check out this post to see how my rating scale works, but the quick version is:

  • 5 stars = Masterpiece. Nothing can literally be better than this. Not to mention, a major book slump happens afterward where I am unable to pick up another book for quite some time.
  • 4 stars = One of the best books I’ve ever read, I couldn’t put it down and found little fault in it.
  • 3 stars = A good book but there were some flaws, from editing to plot to you name it.
  • 2 stars = Liked the book, but wouldn’t say it was something that was memorable.
  • 1 star = Book wasn’t for me.

I almost never give a 5-star rating. Some books have come close, but something always held me back from giving it to those books. I also use .25 increments with the ratings, so there’s a range in each of those levels.

What is currently unfinished?

I figured I would add this section as these were things I started to read, but haven’t finished yet so I can’t exactly give them a rating quite yet. I am not DNF’ing these books. I will finish them at some point, most likely next month. I just have to get back to them. I got distracted or pulled away from them for one reason or another.

  • Bloodmarked (Legendborn, Book 2) by Tracy Deonn
    • I’m at the 50% mark and enjoying it a lot so far. I started it back in December and just haven’t gotten back around to finishing it. But I will, I am not marking this as DNF as I seriously have enjoyed what I’ve read so far.

What did I re-read?

Normally, I don’t go into books I re-read during these posts as I don’t count them towards my reading goal. But I figured since I’m already doing a post entirely on what I read, I might as well mention them. None of these were full re-reads; rather, I just read a few chapters from them. Or, more precisely, I read the scenes between the two love interests and skipped over the rest. Though, depending on the book, I may read more than that.

  • Queen of Anarchy (Dirty Broken Savages, Book 2) by Eva Ashwood
  • Reign of Wrath (Dirty Broken Savages, Book 3) by Eva Ashwood

Love ya,

Mae Polzine

Join the Howl of the Pack today by subscribing! To stay updated on everything I’m doing, follow me on Twitter as that’s where I post quick updates. Or join our Discord server. I do have a Patreon where I will be trying to give early access to things like YouTube videos or body paint looks. Also, if you like this post, let me know in the comment section, it really helps me figure out what content you guys appreciate. Don’t be shy I would love to hear from you!

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